In 2005, scientists from various science centres in Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, the United States and Chile created the Mountain Invasion Research Unit (MIREN) in order to study the distribution of exotic species in high mountain species and to design experiments to confirm the invasive capacity of certain species in high mountain environments.
"These plant communities in Alpine environments have until now not been thought particularly vulnerable to this kind of environmental disturbance", José Ramón Arévalo, one of the authors of the study and a researcher at the Department of Ecology of the University of La Laguna, tells SINC. However, the experiments show clearly "that the beliefs about this supposed protection and mountain species' resistance to invasive species is erroneous", he adds.
The study, published recently in Frontiers in Ecology and The Environment, and which is part of the work done by MIREN, has made it possible to identify the factors that make plants in these areas more vulnerable to invasion by other species.
Among other factors, the scientists stress the ease of movement of propagules (plants which can reproduce asexually in order to produce new plants) as a result of human activity and the increase in environmental disturbance, the low levels of biological resistance of invaded plant communities, the increase in transport between high mountain areas that are far apart from each other, and the risks according to climate change models, "which will make it easier for invasive plants to establish themselves and reproduce", the ecologist explains.
A work agenda to stem invasions
The work carried out over the last five years shows that "invasions may be a factor in more extensive and serious disturbance than had ever been thought", says Arévalo. The scientists also say there is a need to establish a work agenda to evaluate "not only current invasions, but also those that could happen in the future in mountainous environments", warns the researcher.
Protecting against and above all preventing invasions could be done by means of experimental and modelling work. Arévalo says "biological invasion is not a fact, but rather a process of species overlapping within a habitat, which means prevention is much more effective and viable than eradication".
Pauchard, Anibal; Kueffer, Christoph; Dietz, Hansjoerg; Daehler, Curtis C.; Alexander, Jake; Edwards, Peter J.; Arévalo, José Ramón; Cavieres, Lohengrin A.; Guisan, Antoine; Haider, Sylvia; Jakobs, Gabi; McDougall, Keith; Millar, Constance I.; Naylor, Bridgett J.; Parks, Catherine G.; Rew, Lisa J.; Seipel, Tim. "Ain't no mountain high enough: plant invasions reaching new elevations" Frontiers in Ecology and The Environment 7(9): 479-486 noviembre de 2009.
SINC | EurekAlert!
Scientists on the road to discovering impact of urban road dust
18.01.2018 | University of Alberta
Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk
17.01.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
18.01.2018 | Life Sciences
18.01.2018 | Life Sciences
18.01.2018 | Earth Sciences